Santa Clara University

undefined
Bookmark and Share
 

Her Honor

Back to Blog

Does Public Financing of Campaigns Make Sense Today?

Monday, Aug. 13, 2012

In an effort to make it easier for newcomers to have a chance to win in the upcoming election, the taxpayers of San Francisco are financing qualifying candidates.

The program is administered by the city’s Ethics Commission, and allows challengers for a seat on the board of supervisors to receive a maximum of $155,000; incumbents have a cap of $152,500. More than $4 million is available in the account, according to John St. Croix, executive director of the commission. A payment of $248,867 was made Friday to five candidates who have qualified.

In order to be eligible, says St. Croix, the individual “must demonstrate that he or she has received at least $10,000 in qualifying contributions from at least 100 individuals who reside in the city.” The threshold for incumbents is slightly different: they must raise $15,000 in qualifying contributions from at least 150 residents.

A base grant of $20,000 is granted once the candidate qualifies, with additional amounts given based on the results of private fundraising.

Discussion questions:

  • With cities and counties facing bankruptcy, does public financing of campaigns make economic sense?
  • Do you support public financing of political campaigns? Why or why not?
  • Should there be an “ethics clause” that requires the public money be returned if the candidate engages in negative campaigning?
  • Should the money be returned in the case of campaign ethics violations?

Tags: campaign finance

 
Subscribe by email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner